IMF’s Georgieva accuses former World Bank President Kim’s office of manipulation
WASHINGTON, Sept.24 (Reuters) – IMF Director Kristalina Georgieva has called the findings of an independent investigation “false and misleading” into allegations that she, as head of the World Bank, has lobbied on staff to manipulate data to make the business climate in China more favorable.
In a statement she plans to present to the board of directors of the International Monetary Fund, Georgieva also accused the office of former World Bank president Jim Kong Kim of manipulation.
She said she stepped in to block a proposal by a member of Kim’s staff to include Hong Kong data in China’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 report, which would have significantly improved his position. Kim did not respond to requests for comment.
The World Bank released a report last week on the investigation by law firm WilmerHale. He revealed that senior executives at the bank, including Georgieva, improperly pressured staff to change data to improve China’s ranking in the Doing Business report as the bank sought support from China for a capital increase.
Georgieva, then managing director of the World Bank, denounced the investigation publicly and to her staff, but went into more detail in the statement to the IMF’s board, a copy of which was seen by Reuters on Friday.
She said the investigation’s findings contained “the false and misleading insinuation (…) that my colleagues and I at the World Bank would inflate a country’s Doing Business ranking in exchange for capital commitments.”
“To be clear: nothing like this has happened and nothing like this will ever happen under my leadership,” she said.
Georgieva said his efforts to prevent Hong Kong’s data from being added to China’s Doing Business rankings demonstrated his concern for preserving the integrity of World Bank data.
The Bulgarian economist, the first person from a developing country to head the World Bank, has faced calls to resign on the issue, although former colleagues have spoken out in favor of her.
The IMF’s board met on Tuesday to hear a first report from its ethics committee and agreed to meet again soon.
U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Chairman Maxine Waters said on Friday that the findings detailing “China’s undue influence” at the World Bank and Georgieva’s role in “the manipulation of “Doing Business” data at the request of the Chinese government is very disturbing. “
“This has undermined the reputation of the World Bank and also called into question the current leadership of the IMF, where data integrity is essential to its mission and where the undue influence of any interested power could put the stability of the financial system. world in danger, ”Waters said.
Current World Bank President David Malpass said WilmerHale’s investigation findings speak for themselves, but did not comment in further detail.
Georgieva said WilmerHale’s investigation erroneously deduced that she asked bank officials to handle China’s expectations of its ranking in the Doing Business report because she feared China would refuse to support the capital increase.
Georgieva said she regretted that colleagues at the bank “did not believe they could speak out to raise data integrity issues with me” and that she was committed to fostering better communication.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman
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